Emerson reports two new positives, Massachusetts cases soar


Photo: Diti Kohli

Emerson’s testing site is located at a Tufts Medical Center facility on the corner of Harrison Ave. and Kneeland St.

By Charlie McKenna

Emerson reported two new positive COVID-19 test results Thursday out of 720 new tests administered on Nov. 3 and 4, leaving the college’s cumulative positive tests since Aug. 6 at 29. Emerson’s cumulative testing total sits at 38,364.

The new data was reported at 12:12 p.m.  

The college reported just eight new tests for Nov. 4, potentially because of delays in reporting data from the Broad Institute, which is responsible for processing COVID-19 tests for Emerson and other local universities. 

Massachusetts reported 1,761 new coronavirus cases Thursday. The total increased from 1,629 cases reported Wednesday. The number of deaths fell from 27 to 23. 

New infections continue to rise in the state—cases numbers have now broken 1,000 two days in a row after briefly falling below 1,000 earlier in the week. 1,761 is the highest single-day total since May 3. 

This rise in cases follows new state restrictions announced by Governor Charlie Baker on Monday that limits the number of people allowed to gather in-person and encourages people to stay at home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

The college shifted from a manual data reporting process to an automatic one on Oct. 13. The decision followed a Beacon investigation that revealed a string of inaccuracies in the data reported by the college. 

Emerson’s dashboard is updated daily Monday through Friday. When it was first launched in August, the college opted for weekly updates before eventually shifting to twice weekly and then daily updates. Tabs for hospitalizations and the number of “invalid” results received by community members have since been removed from the dashboard after testing began in August. Invalid results are typically a result of user error and require re-testing. 

Administrators have said the decision to remove hospitalizations was part of an effort to increase transparency as the college was concerned it could not accurately track the metric. Invalid results were deemed “not valuable” data by Assistant Vice President for Campus Life Muurisepp, who serves as the college’s “COVID lead”. 

The dashboard is not updated on weekends because Emerson’s testing site at Tufts Medical Center is closed on Saturdays and Sundays.